RAI Calls For Reopening Of Hospitality Businesses On June 29 And Reduction Of Social Distancing
The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has called on the government to speed up the reopening of the tourism and hospitality sector by allowing all hospitality and tourism businesses to reopen on June 29.
RAI CEO Adrian Cummins stated that all hospitality and tourism businesses should be allowed to reopen on June 29 provided that they can adhere to public health advice.
The RAI said that this will have a major impact on the Irish economy by allowing 200,000 employees to return to work, and that it will avoid a stampede to the courts for restaurant certificate applications by certain businesses trying to move phases and avoid legal costs for struggling businesses.
The RAI has also called on the government to reduce social distancing for restaurants and eateries from two metres to one metre.
Cummins commented, "We are asking the government to take on board what the World Health Organization is telling us and reduce the mandatory social distance from two metres to one metre.
"I have been speaking to many of our members over the past few weeks, and what's coming back to me is that the two metre distance is just not a workable restriction for most restaurants.
"For smaller businesses and many local establishments, to create a two metre distance between customers could mean that their capacity for customers drops to less than half of their usual. This could see some restaurants not reopening, as they won't make enough money from customers to cover the expense of reopening.
"The Restaurants Association of Ireland's top priority from the start has always been public safety, and our members have all obeyed the lockdown restrictions and shut their doors. But now the government needs to listen to us, and work with us on this.
"The WHO says that one metre is a safe distance. This can be more easily implemented by businesses, and will ensure public safety while also safeguarding Irish businesses and livelihoods."
Meanwhile, RAI president Mark McGowan stated, "In order for our recovery to happen we need financial support. The €10,000 Restart Grant is not going to cut it. Real financial measures are needed or the entire tourism sector is going to fall off a cliff. Every day more and more businesses are making the decision to close. Last January we were already closing 10 restaurants every week as they could not survive with the running costs alone, never mind a pandemic thrown into the mix.
"Currently our rates are deferred until 27th of June. They need to be deferred for another three months at minimum and reviewed again at the end of September to see how viable the sector is. The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been an enormous help for many, although it has its flaws. Businesses cannot employ a new member of staff under the scheme, which should be the case if a position is to be filled. The PUP scheme is the big cost to the exchequer, and, as each phase of reopening occurs, it is time to start means testing and putting supports in place where they can be effective in re-stabilising the economy."
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